Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vision Green 2010: A Full-On Assault on the Existing Political Culture of Apathy

Over the past little while, I’ve been reading articles from various mainstream media, and watching journalists on TV lament the current state of affairs amongst Canada’s top parties. Particularly, journalists and pundits have been crying that the major parties lack direction and vision, and really have nothing to offer the Canadian electorate, aside from defining themselves as who they are not. The Liberal Party under Michael Ignatieff’s leadership has particularly been singled out as not really standing for much of anything, except as a Party not led by Stephen Harper. Some have speculated that the Liberal’s lack of direction and vision is the result of a "safe" plan of attack for the next election. The theory goes that Stephane Dion released too much information into the public realm regarding what he would do differently if he were made Prime Minister, which left him open to attacks from the Conservatives. And attack they surely did.

Maybe there is some merit to keeping silent. However, it has been really frustrating to watch the Liberals refrain from speaking out about much of anything, and using non-binding weasel words most often when they do deign to speak. Sure, maybe the pundits have it right, and this is part of an election strategy. But don’t Canadians deserve better?

Jack Layton has been a little more forthcoming with what the NDP would do differently if they formed government, but even these pronouncements leave one scratching their head regarding what the NDP’s true vision of a future Canada is. The NDP under Layton have become a political chameleon, changing their skin when it best suits them. Witness Layton’s decision to have his party support the Harper government on a fall confidence vote, reversing years-long policy of non-support for the benefit of passing a flawed Employment Insurance bill which was but a shadow of what Layton said he’d previously support. Yes, it put off having an election which people didn’t want, but it gave us more of Stephen Harper, a commodity that a lot of us would also rather do without.

The NDP have flip-flopped on all sorts of principled issues, especially those pertaining to climate change. Instead of embracing a form of carbon pricing which experts throughout the world acknowledge as being workable and successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the NDP remain opposed to a carbon tax, and have instead embraced an industry-friendly cap and trade scheme which is sure to keep the price of carbon hidden from consumers, and punish the most vulnerable in our society. Even today, the NDP continues to maintain that a carbon tax is the wrong way of pricing carbon; look no further than the attack on the B.C. Liberal’s during the spring provincial election.

No, the NDP don’t offer a whole lot when it comes to vision for this country, but at least they have shown a few of their cards, unlike the Liberals, who may not even be holding any cards.

And if the Liberals and NDP are bad, well, the Conservatives want you to think that you’re living in a fantasy-land where economic recovery will do away with structural deficits, where taxes need never be raised, and only redundant programs are cut. The Conservative’s approach is actually worse than that of the Liberals and NDP: rather than saying next to nothing, they’re selling Canadians a fairy-tale story.

Where, then, is a vision for a realistic future for which Canadians can cast their ballots? If the current way of thinking about elections is to say as little as possible about what your party would do when in power for fear of being skewered by your opponents, or standing up for your principles only when they don’t conflict with polling, or whistling "Don’t Worry, Be Happy", what is a Canadian to do?

Well, keeping true to its principles, and not worrying about being attacked for its vision, yesterday the Green Party of Canada released "Vision Green 2010", a powerful and comprehensive document of where the Greens would take Canada given the opportunity. This updated document addresses issues important to Canadians, putting everything the Greens have to offer on the table, and telling the other Parties to go ahead and find fault. This is not some glossy picture-laden "Red Book" of promises not to be kept; it’s a full-on assault on the current culture of apathy which exists in our Federal system.

Vision Green 2010 calls for over-riding and fundamental changes to Canada based on the shared values of Canadians. For too long, our government has been beholden to special interests who do not have our best interests first and foremost in their minds. We have tolerated environmental, economic and social destruction at the expense of increasing profits. To mitigate, we’ve talked about sustainable development as a "nice to have", rather than a fundamental over-riding principle for decision-making.

The Green Party understands that the course Canada is on is perilous in the extreme, and without fundamental changes to the way in which our government conducts its business, the interests of the majority will never be paramount. Instead, the casino economy created by the biggest and wealthiest players will continue to jeopardize our future and that of our children. Without recognition that there are limits to growth, our current system is headed for disaster. Yet the other political parties aren’t telling you any of this.

I was very pleased to see that some of the updates made to Vision Green are based on the notion that the end of inexpensive fossil fuels is upon us. This is the reality in which we are living; yet you’re not hearing Harper, Layton or Ignatieff discuss peak oil and what that means for our communities, industries and our lifestyle built around a culture of cars. Whether we like it or not, our situation is changing, and we should proactively plan for change, rather than react when it is thrust upon us.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Vision Green 2010 is a heavy read. But it’s also presents an incredibly enlightened and optimistic view of Canada’s future, if only the wherewithal to actually implement these necessary changes could be found. Yes, Greens will undoubtedly be bashed for many of the bold initiatives proposed in Vision Green 2010. Certainly there are those out there who are opposed to change, and who will continue to insist that it doesn’t have to happen. That point of view, however, is not grounded in our current reality, and should be dismissed. So let the dinosaurs bash away.

If the pundits are looking for bold vision and initiative, here it is. Yes, it’s the little Green Party who has the strongest, most comprehensive vision for Canada, and that might surprise many. I hope that more and more people take a look for themselves. I hope that they will see that a bright and sustainable future is within our grasp if we have the courage to initiate truly fundamental changes, starting with our taxation system. Getting the price right, eliminating corporate subsidies for the biggest players, and finally putting a price on pollution, are the starting points to creating a sustainable Canada.

Go and take a look for yourself. Browse through the Table of Contents and find a few issues which are important to you. Take a look and see what Greens would do differently. You may be excited about what you read.

Pie Throwing a "Terrorist Activity", according to Newfoundland MP

The Globe & Mail is reporting today that a Liberal MP from Newfoundland and Labrador is questioning whether yesterday's "pie-ing" of Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea should be considered a "terrorist activity". She is calling for an investigation into whether PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) should be listed as a "terrorist organization" in Canada, as a result of this recent "attack".

Now, far be it from me to defend the actions of PETA. I dislike this organization's publicity stunts in the extreme, including their over-the-top capitalization on the slaying of the young man on a Greyhound bus last year (they had questioning why Canadians should care about that one act of violence, given the massive number of violent acts committed against animals every day-- their point about animals is valid, but their exploitation of that tragedy was way, way over the top). Also, I'm not a big fan of hurling pies at Ministers of the Crown.

However, take the Liberal Member's argument to it's logical conclusion. If tossing a pie becomes a terrorist action, and can therefore be compared to bombing an airliner, where will we draw the line on terrorist activities? If you belong to an organization which protests a government action or policy, and you somehow "intimidate" a member of the government, or perhaps the police, or even the public, would you then be considered a terrorist? That sounds ludicrous, of course, but...

But how far are we willing to go? Remember, terrorists don't actually have to carry out an action in this country to be arrested. The gang in Toronto were only PLANNING on blowing up buildings and cutting of the head of the Prime Minister, and they found themselves in terrible hot water (as in "years in prison"). If attacking a Minister of the Crown with a pie is a terrorist activity, perhaps so too would be planning on attacking a Minister of the Crown.

We need to remain vigilant when these sorts of arguments are brought forward in the name of Security. I'm appalled that a Liberal MP wants to equate this latest action with an act of terrorism, and to list PETA as a terrorist organization as a result. It is a very slippery slope. Perhaps, in the future, attending a rally like many of us did this past weekend, protesting an action of the government, may be considered an act of terrorism or treason against the State. Far fetched? I hope so. But so is equating a pie to a bomb, yet here we are today.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

GPC Federal Council Exercises Diplomacy Over Leadership Contest Issue

For a select few members of the Green Party of Canada, specifically those who have a particular interest in the machinations of the Party’s Constitution and the glacial-paced manoeuverings of Federal Council, a couple of internal Party issues have become significant distractions as of late. As a result, those "select few" who typically pay attention to these sorts of things has started to grow in numbers, and I have to include myself in this recent growth spurt. Still, though, I suspect that the vast majority of Party members are not in tune with what has been going on "behind the scenes".

These issues pertain to party financing and debt, the laying off of paid staff (provincial organizers) and concerns being raised with the Constitutional requirement for a leadership contest to take place in 2010. Some have suggested that all of these issues are connected to one another, and as the articulated goal of this Party is to elect Members of Parliament, how can they not be? Every decision the Party makes will, in one way or another, impact this goal.

I have largely been silent on the issues pertaining to the Party’s finances, and I will mostly continue with my silence, as I fully admit that I don’t have the level of understanding necessary to comment on the financial matters in a sensible way. I will say, however, that it appears to me that the Party is currently experiencing some financial troubles, manifested in recent requests to EDA’s to defer receipt of transfer payments, and in the laying off of staff. We here in Sudbury recently lost our provincial organizer, who, in my opinion, had been tasked with looking after too many electoral districts as it was. Now, one of the other organizers has been given our former organizer’s caseload, whilst retaining her own. To me, this illustrates that there may be some problems with the Party’s bottom line.

If you hang around here long enough, and keep your ears open, though, you’ll quickly come to realize that issues pertaining to both the Party’s finances and our Constitution are nothing new: they’ve been lingering for some time now, years and years as a matter of fact. With regards to the Constitutional issue which has recently reared its head, I have been taking a much more active interest. Here’s the way that I see it.

Unlike any other Party, the Green Party of Canada requires that our a leadership contest be held every 4 years, with a 2006 baseline date; a date which coincides with both the election of our current leader, Elizabeth May, and with the adoption of our existing Constitution (which replaced a previous version in its entirety). Clearly, our convention in 2006 was a point of renewal for the Party. I was not around at that time, but I understand that one of the reasons for replacing the former Constitution with the new one was an effort to contain the powers of the party leader. Not for any particularly nefarious reason directed at Elizabeth May, but because the Greens who crafted the current Constitution wanted to really do politics differently.

Instead of vesting all of the Party’s power in the position of Leader, or in the dual positions of Leader and Party President, our 2006 Constitution took a bit of a different approach. The Leader of the Green Party of Canada, while having legislative obligations and requirements to fulfil under the Elections Act, would largely, for the purposes of Party governance, be a spokesperson of the Party; power would be distributed amongst a significant number of Federal Councillors, elected on a provincial and at-large basis; the leader would be just another councillor, albeit with an extended term. But by and large, and to this day, our leader is just one amongst many councillors, according to our Constitution.

The leader of our Party doesn’t even appear to have the same level of authority within our power structure as say a Mayor has within a municipal council. Federal council meetings are chaired by someone elected by Council to that position; it is not automatically assumed by the leader (Elizabeth May is not the current chair of Federal Council). Unlike a Mayor, who can claim to be "first amongst equals", our leader is just another councillor with some unique job qualifications (which include other Constitutionally mandated roles). In my opinion, the 2006 Constitution created a very diluted power structure within the Party.

Where power and decision-making is decentralized, a couple of things should come as no surprise to those paying attention. The first is that making decisions will consequently take a little more time. This is the price we pay for our democratic structures. Authoritarian regimes at all levels can often exercise their decision-making powers a little more flexibly than those who rely on democratic processes. We all need to keep that in mind when we rag on the Party for the slow pace of decision making. Now, that’s not a reason to quell criticism, which I believe is a fundamental part of the democratic process. Just understand that things are going to take a little more time to sort themselves out.

The second is that power abhors a vacuum, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that informal processes sometimes must kick in when exercising decision making authority has become time-consuming. There are some times when decisions simply can’t wait, but if the structure of a particular organization is such that a decision will take too much time to go through a full process, what’s the final outcome? A decision of some sort is ultimately made, a course of action is decided upon. Sometimes it’s clear where those decisions come from, sometimes it’s much less so.

Think of any large organization where power is decentralized, be it the Federal government, a municipal government, an NGO with a board of directors, or a private enterprise with shareholders. These organizations will be less adept at making timely decisions, although they will be better at making representative decisions (in theory).

Our Party’s Constitutional structure, in my opinion, is heavily tilted towards the democratic side of the decision-making process in principle, and as a result, the structure itself is not particularly nimble and flexible. While this may be considered a positive attribute of responsible governance, it can also be problematic for an organization tasked with making decisions which are often reactive in nature. And those are just the sorts of decisions that our Party often finds itself having to make, as we are largely not in the drivers seat of public opinion.

Now, some will suggest that it has been in direct response to this cumbersome yet Constitutionally mandated power structure that a new power structure has emerged within the Party, centred around our current leader. The suggestion has been made that real power within the Party is in fact wielded by this alternative structure. I say, if that’s the case, it’s only because the Party itself has let it happen.

Do I think that Elizabeth May has more actual power than that granted to her as just another member of Federal Council? Sure I do; but I would suggest that there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. The paper structure of the Party is just that: a set of rules, a promise that decisions and activities will follow certain processes and stay inside of established structural boxes. What a paper process can’t ever do is take into consideration human elements.

In any power structure, ultimate power is going to be dictated by a number of factors, including the ability of an individual or collection of individuals to assert themselves through a number of means. This is "influence".

In my teen years, I played this game called "Diplomacy" as often as I could. In Diplomacy, 7 players started out with relatively equal positions on the gameboard, with three or four pieces under their control. The object of the game was, within the constraints imposed by the rules, to eventually increase your number of units from 3 or 4 to 18 in order to win. This could only be accomplished at the expense of the other players. The only way to win this game is to influence the other players, ultimately to your advantage. For me, I often liked to present my opponents with logical arguments of why it would be best to work in concert with one another (the "carrot"). Sometimes, threats of force were necessary (the "stick"). At other times, outright deceit and manipulation were the order of the day (the "stab"). Judicious use of the stick and especially the stab were often necessary: too many threats too early, and stabbing for little gain would likely be signals to your competitors that you were an immediate danger and could not be trusted.

The power structure of the game, though, remained set by the rules: a paper structure. Real power was exercised by the successful players at the expense of the unsuccessful. But all within the context of the rules.
This example is not to suggest that the machinations of our Federal Council are like a game of Diplomacy. This is only to suggest that a paper-based power structure is always going to be influenced by the individuals involved. And in the case of the Green Party of Canada, we have a very experienced, charismatic leader to whom we have entrusted (through our votes) to lead this Party to success (a bit of an undefined term, as it turns out, although I would agree with those who define success initially as "electoral success", rather than simply influencing the platforms of other parties). If she has been successful in exerting influence over the decentralized decision-making process, so be it, the structure of the Party is wide-open for that to occur.

Given this reality with our power structure, I don’t think we should be losing too much sleep over the way that decisions are being arrived at, as long as those decisions are in keeping with the rules. Whether we agree with those decisions or not, though, is certainly something which Party members can and should be concerned about. And where decisions are proposed to be made outside of the defined rules, we should be more than concerned: we should be kicking and screaming. Ultimately, upholding the rules is paramount, and is more important than what we perceive to be bad decisions being made.

And that, in part, is why I personally have been far more focussed on the Constitutional matters which have lately been troubling our Party, in preference to those financial matters. The financial decisions made in the past may or may not be problematic, but I strongly suspect that they were made within the context of the rules (as Elections Canada monitoring is ultimately a requirement). The constitutional issue around whether to hold a leadership race in 2010 has been another matter completely.

It’s no secret to Party insiders that back in November, Federal Council was presented with a motion to outright change our by-laws regarding the 2010 leadership contest requirement. This motion was out of order: Council can’t change our by-laws; by-laws can only be changed by the Membership. Eventually, Council voted to hold a Special General Meeting in February to hold a vote on amending the by-laws. What was less certain was exactly which by-law was intended to be amended, and how. Based on the original motion which died, the by-law in question pertained to the 4-year leadership contest, and specifically the requirement for holding such a contest would be replaced by a new requirement to hold a leadership review 6 months after all federal elections. This would be quite a change for the Party, moving our leader from a fixed-term situation to another where the leader would come and go as they pleased, albeit in situations heavily influenced by the membership.

Whether the current fixed-term approach is as problematic as some have suggested, and whether the new proposed approach is better for the Party is not something I’ll discuss in this blogpost. It’s one of those things, though, which should be open for discussion and comment, and that’s what’s been occurring. And I believe that’s a very good thing for the health of our Party.

What was problematic, however, and which had me kicking and screaming, was the notion that a Special General Meeting could be called to address this single issue in February 2010, which, I believe, could not have occurred within the context of the Constitution. In short, reverting back to Diplomacy-speak, that move would have violated the rules, and therefore could not be made. Specifically, the notice provisions of the Constitution clearly could not be met in such a short timeframe. I believe that there were also other issues as well.

Back when I played Diplomacy, the majority of the time someone tried to make an illegal move, it was because they were ignorant of the rules. Sometimes, though, it was because they were trying to play outside of the rules. We called those people "cheaters".

Now, it seems that the concept of a February 2010 Special General Meeting has been abandoned by Federal Council, along with the original notion that Council could just go ahead and amend the by-laws. For both of these actions, I applaud Council. The sanctity of the rules, the Constitution, remain. If I were adjudicating this round of moves in a game of Diplomacy, I would be satisfied that no moves outside of the rules have been made. No cheating has occurred.

What is now being proposed is that the membership will be left to decide whether or not we amend our by-laws so as to remove the fixed-term requirement for our leader (and avoid having a leadership contest until after the next federal election, potentially longer), or whether we reconfirm our 2006 commitment to a 2010 leadership contest. The best venue available for doing this will be the August 2010 General Meeting, as the rules say that by-laws can only be amended at General Meetings. No populist single-issue plebicites a la Napoleon the third can occur within this Party, as per our rules.

Federal Council will be considering whether to endorse a particular motion in advance of the BGM; likely a motion which seeks to change the 2010 leadership contest by-law, although it seems that at least a few Federal Councillors don’t want Council to be a part of that. Either way, though, nothing will prevent someone else or another unit of the Party from coming forward at the BGM (technically before the BGM) with their own motion to change the by-law. As this issue is going to stick around for a while, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’ll be at least one motion for the Membership to vote on around this issue, and knowing our Party, there are likely to be several (and knowing our Party, we’ll probably end up endorsing conflicting resolutions!).

Either way, though, going to the Membership with a proposed amendment is the very best outcome to resolve the 2010 leadership contest issue. It need not be Federal Council’s proposal; but a clearly worded request for change will almost certainly be brought forward. This issue is not going to go away, because of the friction between the paper-based power structure and the actual exercising of power which has come about. At least by taking this issue to the Membership in August, the Party will be following its rules to establish new rules replacing old ones. The Membership will decide whether or not this is worth doing.

Should any motion to amend our by-laws ultimately be defeated, we’ll have four months to get the leadership contest underway. As our leader, on paper, has the same power as any other Federal Councillors, with some exceptions, there is no reason that we can’t elect a leader using the same format that we elect our Councillors. Those who believe that an in-person convention is necessary to elect a leader need not worry about costs: no in-person meeting is required. In fact, it would be much more equitable to the Party Membership if the leadership contest were held virtually (through the mail, over the internet).

I expect the debate at the BGM around this issue to be very lively indeed. And that can only be a good and healthy thing for our Party.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cap and Trade Concerns: Is This the Best That We Can Come Up With?

It was with shock that I read a recent editorial by Sun Media’s Lorrie Goldstein. Now, "shock" isn’t an unusual emotion for me to experience when I start reading Goldstein, but this time the shock was a little different. This time, I found that I had little to disagree with Goldstein on in his editorial "Carbon credits are a scam to be feared".

Goldstein has been a vocal opponents of carbon credits emission trading. His opposition appears to stem from his belief that concerns about climate change are overblown by the "enviro-nuts". He has consistently argued that Canada would be economically disadvantaged if we actually tried to do something about reducing our carbon emissions. He also argues that it’s the biggest polluters, China and the U.S. who should be taking the lead, not Canada.

Goldstein likes to point out what he refers to as the "failure" of the European Emissions Trading Scheme in support of his opposition to carbon trading (what we used to call "cap and trade" not all that long ago). While I’m not ready to agree with Goldstein on this failure (Goldstein believes it has been a failure because global emissions continue to rise), I certainly have to question whether it’s been a success.

Goldstein’s general argument against carbon trading is that market manipulation has the potential to wreak havoc on the entire economy, potentially creating a bubble which could burst, making the current recession look insignificant. Goldstein suggests that it’s the bankers and big businesses who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of a carbon trading scheme, as they would be the ones to primarily profit, while the cost of emissions credits would be passed along to the consumers, who will be the losers.

Consumers will actually lose twice: first, by paying more for just about everything; second, for not actually seeing much in the way of benefit from reduced emissions, because Goldstein believes that the cap will be set so low as to have a negligible impact on reducing emissions (coupled with increased emissions from China and India). Goldstein is also not a big fan of off-sets, as he believes that they’re a complete boondoggle.

Goldstein believes that Canadians should be standing up and calling our government out for even thinking about involving us in such a negligent scam. Not only will global emissions continue to rise, but the economic impacts to Canadian businesses and consumers will be detrimental to our economy.

I think he’s on to something here. In theory, a "cap and trade" carbon emissions scheme would end up reducing emissions, but the cap has to be set high enough. Also, there needs to be clear direction regarding how the funds generated through the purchase of carbon credits are intended to be spent, with the majority going to real offsets (and certainly not to investments in questionable technology, like carbon capture and storage). The offsets have to be real and tangible.

In any event, though, the costs of pricing carbon in this way are going to be passed along to consumers. Sure, we consumers will expect to pay more for the same good or service in the future, but we may not be aware of how much more we ought to be paying. Hence, businesses could use the price of carbon credits as an opportunity to generate more profit, thus hurting consumers even more.

If the cap isn’t high enough, and if the majority of money goes into general revenues, and if the offsets purchased are of questionable value, and if companies are able to hoard credits during years of economic downturn when emissions are down anyway, and if clear pricing on goods and services are provided to consumers and if...

Oh my. There are already a lot of "ifs" there. Since I don’t really trust my government to get any of those "ifs" right, what chance is there on all of them?

Yes, clearly the bankers and big businesses might like the idea of carbon emissions trading. It need not be a threat to their bottom lines, as they may actually be able to take advantage of a scheme to generate revenue. And as those businesses grow along with their profits, will emissions be reduced? I think that the jury is still out on that.

What I do believe is that carbon emissions trading appears to be capitalism’s answer to being seen to be taking action on the environment, while having a positive impact on the bottom-lines of the business community.

I can understand that the Conservatives and Liberals would support this "solution" to address the climate change crisis. What I can’t understand is why the NDP have come out in favour of this particular mechanism as their primary method of reducing carbon emissions. It boggles my mind that the three major parties in Canada believe that this sort of scheme is the best way to price carbon. Well, maybe it is the best way to "price carbon" if the goal is to make money off of pollution. If you really want to reduce emissions, though, surely there must be a better pricing mechanism, no?

Here’s the kicker: even Lorrie Goldstein says that "if our governments are hell bent on putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions, a carbon tax would be better, with 100% of the money returned to taxpayers in income tax cuts."

Hmmm...that sounds very close to the Green Party’s position on taxing carbon. Put a hefty price on carbon emissions (something we don’t like), but pull back on other taxes, particularly income tax (something we want...less tax on our income). So we end up paying more for some goods and services, but we have more money in our pockets to do so. And the best thing is, if we choose to purchase goods and services with less of a carbon footprint, rather than carbon-rich goods and services, we will actually end up with more money in our pockets. Yes, we may have to make some changes to our personal spending habits, but that’s a good thing, because not only will we be helping reduce emissions, we’ll be enriching ourselves in the process.

We pay taxes, in theory, for the greater public good. Why not price goods and services accordingly? If something is bad for the public good, tax it at a higher rate. Right now, with regards to carbon emissions, we’re actually subsidizing them, because we used to believe that they were a net positive on the public good ledger.

Yes, yes, I know: Stephane Dion proposed something like this in the last election, and he was destroyed for it. Of course, we Greens also ran on this policy, and our percentage of the popular vote went up. As the federal Liberals have abandoned this method of carbon pricing, in the next election it appears that only the Greens will be presenting this option to voters.

Canadians should be very concerned about the carbon emissions trading scheme that our major political parties, and governments at the federal and provincial levels have been talking about (not to mention to the U.S.). It seems to me that it’s inevitable that before too long, such a program will be up and running, and our governments will say, "Look at us! We’re serious about fighting climate change!" We will have squandered all sorts of resources and political capital on getting this thing going, with only dubious results to show in a decades worth of time.

Here in Canada, you can certainly expect the oil industry to be exempted from having to participate. In the U.S., the coal lobby is doing all that it can to obtain an exemption for itself. If the biggest polluters are exempt from participation, how can that work to actually reduce emissions? The arguments for exemption, though ("jobs will be lost if no exemptions") will likely win the day under the current configuration in parliament.

Maybe we can get Lorrie Goldstein to endorse us.

Just joking.